Kate Stanley is Assistant Professor at Western University in Ontario. Her contributions to the study of American literature, literary modernism, and pragmatism have appeared or are forthcoming in Modernism/modernity, American Literary History, Criticism, The Henry James Review, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. Her book Practices of Surprise in American Literature After Emerson is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.
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In 1923 Alfred Stieglitz published “How I Came to Photograph Clouds,” a short essay in which he writes:
What can the acknowledgements page of an academic book reveal to us about the discipline of literary studies? Scholarly acknowledgment is often characterized by the special fulsomeness of its intimate enumeration of gratitude. It’s easy to experience a kind of vertigo when moving from the cozy intimacy of these expressions of thanks to the rigorous delimitations and impersonal critical surveys of the introductory material that follows. What would it mean to close the gap between these modes—to uncordon acknowledgment from prefatory convention so that it infuses more overtly within a monograph’s critical investigations? How might the work of denoting scholarly debts extend beyond a demarcated page to shape the sensibility of a book as a whole?